I dreamed last night that I was writing in red ink, on long pages of parchment, very Harry Potter style. I suppose the physical act of writing is an important part of the whole process, and to me, is one of the keys to the production of a story or novel. I also feel however that there are other keys to this process that may remain waiting to be unlocked. So I have been thinking about these. What is it that allows me to write? I work freelance as a writer, writing copy for this and that, and when I really need to produce work to order, I gather my information together, and then sit quietly with no tv and no distractions, and can usually bang out around 2000 words an hour. The same is true of academic writing. When writing creatively, however, there seems to be a different kind of process going on. I write best when the mood takes me, and often, that is when I am in a busy, crowded environment. My PhD novel was largely drafted in longhand in a cafe. I sometimes had my Ipod on, listening to the same song, over and over again. I wonder now if there are some conditions that have to be met for me to write well, because certainly the better passages of prose were the product of that environment.
Other factors impinge on my ability to write. Sitting here, writing this, I am about to embark upon my second cup of tea of the day. And I am hungry, which is distracting me and making me want to hurry. So this raises the question of how much do conditions have to be right to write. How much is just procrastination and putting off the real task of writing? I would welcome others’ thoughts on this issue. Certainly I need to enter that certain ‘head space’, what can be described as a ‘flow state’ to really connect with what I am writing, and sometimes music, or films, can trigger that for me. It all seems tied up in motivation too. So I wonder how well motivated I am to write, if I do not take time to make the conditions right to precipitate my creative flow. Certainly since completing the PhD I have a million ideas and projects just waiting to be realised, and yet I have done nothing about them as yet. I wonder therefore whether the thought of writing is more attractive than the work itself. Instead of writing about writing, I should just be doing it?
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